The Answers Issue: What's the deal with "deaf child" signs? How do parents request them?

What’s the deal with deaf child signs? How do these go in? Do parents request them? Do all deaf children get them by right?

If the parents of a deaf child want motorists to slow down or be more aware while driving on their street, they can ask the District Department of Transportation to install a yellow, diamond-shaped “Deaf Child” sign. Once the child grows up, or the sign doesn’t seem necessary anymore, the guardian must contact DDOT and ask the department to remove it.

The Federal Highway Administration’s Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices, which sets the guidelines for roadway signage, says warning signs should “be kept to a minimum” because installing too many of them “tends to breed disrespect for all signs.” That’s probably why some cities and states don’t permit “Deaf Child” signs at all. Virginia discourages them, preferring the more general “Watch for Children” sign. But D.C. takes a more liberal approach—and it doesn’t prohibit signs for other disabilities, either. DDOT spokesperson John Lisle says if residents call the department asking for a “Blind Child” sign or something similar, the department would consider it.

Our Readers Say

Argh, I hate when people new to D.C. ask me about these signs. "What do those signs mean?" "Um, they mean that there's a kid in that neighborhood who could run out into the street but won't hear your car horn and move out of the way, so be careful you d***." Good answer, Ally.
What I wonder about is whether there is an obligation to inform DDOT when said child grows up or the family moves away.

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